Mildew on Mattress -Signs, Dangers & How To get Rid of it

You pull back the covers and jump into bed after a long, hard day but wait, what’s that horrid, musty, disgusting smell?

Could mildew be growing on your Mattress?

In this article we will look at how to tell if mildew is growing on your mattress and, if so, what to do about it.

Signs that Mildew Has Started to Grow on your Mattress

Mattresses are usually made from porous, spongy materials which means they can absorb and hold onto moisture. 

This moisture can quickly attract mildew formation in your mattress which can ruin your mattress and your sleep!

So how can you spot if you have a mildew problem?

Here’s how to Spot Mildew on your Mattress:

  • Mildew on a mattress will appear as small black, pink, grey or brown spots, usually appearing first on the bottom, sides or near seams. It may look powdery in texture.
  • There will be a strong, persistent and unpleasant odour.
  • There may be large, unexplained dark coloured stains on the mattress

If you see any of these signs, you may have mildew in your mattress.

Most Common Causes of Mildew on Mattress

You may be asking why has mildew developed on your mattress?

Mildew is a type of fungi which is typically caused by a combination of humid environments, moisture and damp getting into your mattress where it can reproduce and grow.

Humid environments

Bedrooms can be humid environments and there can also be bacteria around from dead skin which we naturally shed during sleep.

This provides an ideal environment for mildew to develop within and on your mattress.


Most moisture in mattresses comes from perspiration while we sleep. Try and adjust your bedding throughout the night to prevent you overheating.

Lighter layers may help rather than one heavy one.

Consider investing in natural, breathable fabrics like cotton or linen and avoid synthetic fabrics.

Stains and damp

Spillages, wet towels left on beds, sleeping with wet hair etc can all penetrate the mattress and cause mildew.

Types of Mattress That Mildew Can Grow on

Let’s have a look at how mildew might affect some different types of mattress.

All mattress types can develop mildew given the right conditions.

Inner-Spring Mattresses

You may still get mildew inside spring mattresses, deep within the spring mechanism.

Make sure to Raise the mattress up from time to time to air it out and prevent this.

Memory Foam Mattresses

These mattresses can be made from a variety of foams and are more susceptible than other types due to less air flow within-them.

They can absorb moisture deep within the foam and hold it there which can then attract mildew formation.

They may also retain heat which can help mildew grow and spread within the mattress!

Air Mattresses

Air mattresses can also develop mildew. Take care to store your mattress in a clean, dry place when not in use.

You could also store the mattress in a plastic cover or in an airtight, waterproof container with a lid. Make sure the air mattress is clean and dry before storage.

A good blast of sunlight before storage will be helpful to prevent mildew from forming while your mattress is not in use.

Dangers of Mildew in Mattress

Mildew in a mattress can be a significant risk to health, particularly for those with weak immune systems, those who are very young or elderly and those who have asthma or respiratory conditions.

Exposure can lead to coughing, breathing difficulties, sore throat and even problems sleeping.

You may also suffer headaches, nausea, rashes or other illnesses.

Should you Sleep on a Mattress that has Mildew?

It is not advisable to sleep on a mattress that has mildew due to the risk to your health. Most people spend around 8 hours a night in bed. That’s a long time to be exposed to something that might be harmful to you.

Also, if left alone the mildew will progress and get worse.

Read on to find out how to effectively remove the mildew. If you cannot remove the mildew yourself, contact a professional for advice.

Mildew on Mattress & In your Home?

Call 844-488-0570 for a Risk Free estimate from a Licensed Mold Remediation Specialist in your area.

We Can Help Get Rid of Mildew from your Mattress & Within your Home

How to Clean & Remove Mildew from Mattress Effectively

If you act promptly on discovering mildew on your mattress, it might be possible to remove it. The trick is always to catch the mildew formation in or on your mattress early!

See below for some tips and guidance on how to do this.

What can be Used to Get Rid of Mildew from your Mattress

You can kill & get rid of mildew from your mattress by using some basic household supplies such as:

  • rubbing (isopropy) alcohol
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • bleach
  • white vinegar,

Here are some other supplies you will need:

  • 3 cleaning cloths
  • vacuum cleaner
  • warm water
  • baking soda or bicarbonate of soda
  • upholstery disinfectant.
  • PPE – rubber gloves, safety goggles and respirator mask.

1. Vacuum Your Mattress First

Vacuum both sides of your mattress thoroughly to remove loose dust and dirt.

Remember to empty your cleaner immediately afterwards as mildew spores may spread to other places.

2. Mix & Apply Mildew Killer on your Mattress

Mix rubbing alcohol and water in equal parts (use three parts water if using bleach and equal parts if using white vinegar).

Take a cleaning cloth and dip into the mixture then wring it out.

Rub all the affected and surrounding areas of the mattress in a circular motion, avoiding over-wetting.

Alternatively, a Spray bottle can also be used to apply your Mildew Busting Spray.

Wait for 15-25 minutes for the Mixture to get to the Mildew & kill it.

3. Rinse the Area & Dry the Mattress

Use the second cloth, dipped in warm water and wrung out, to rinse the area you cleaned.

Use a dry cloth to blot dry as much as possible.

Sparingly and evenly spray entire mattress surface with a suitable upholstery disinfectant.

Finally Leave to dry, if possible by placing outside in direct sunlight.

Not only it will dry the Mattress much better,the UV rays of the Sun will also take care of the remaining mildew in your mattress.

4. Remove the Smell of Mildew from your Mattress 

If needed, Bicarbonate of soda or baking soda can be used to remove the smell of mildew from your mattress after cleaning. 

Not only it will remove the smell it will also help remove any excess moisture from your mattress. 

Sprinkle the baking soda liberally over the entire surface of the mattress in a fine even dusting. Leave to sit for a few hours and then vacuum off.

Preventing Mildew Growing on Mattress in Future

Use these tips to stop mildew coming backl

1. Keep your bedroom well ventilated

You can prevent the growth of mildew in your mattress by keeping your bedroom well ventilated by using de-humidifiers, fans or air-purifiers.

Once a week, open a window in each room and all bedroom doors to allow air to circulate through the whole upstairs.

2. Turn your mattress once a month

Once a month, turn your mattress round. This prevents uneven wear and tear and allows each side to dry and be exposed to air.

3. Try and provide airflow under the mattress

Ideally, to prevent mildew you want there to be airflow under the mattress to keep it dry.

Mattresses placed on the floor or on top of solid divan bed bases do not allow this airflow, meaning moisture becomes trapped inside the mattress.

If you have this type of solid base, you could try standing the bare mattress against a wall once a month for a few hours to allow any moisture to evaporate.

4. Don’t make your bed right away

It is nice to always have a neatly made bed, however the trick is not to make your bed too soon after getting up.

Ideally, push the duvet or covers right back and allow air to circulate around the bed which will dry out any sweat or moisture from your night of sleeping.

If you jump up and make the bed immediately, this moisture becomes trapped and will descend downwards into your mattress where it can lead to mildew forming.

5. Change Bed Linen Regularly

Changing your bed linen once a week will keep bacteria, dead skin and dirt to a minimum which will help prevent mildew forming.

You can also use a waterproof mattress protector for extra protection.

6. Vacuum Regularly

Once a month, vacuum your mattress thoroughly to keep it clean and remove any dirt and any spores before they spread.

You should also inspect your mattress regularly for signs of mildew.

7. Consider a Mould Resistant Mattress

Mattresses made from substances like latex are more resistant to mildew and will not be as likely to develop problems with mildew.

8. Clean up Spillages Quickly

If you spill anything on your bed, clean it up right away and make sure you dry the mattress out fully. T

ry to get an much liquid as you can out by blotting and then allow to dry before use.

When to Call a Professional

Quality mattresses are expensive. Sometimes, these solutions will not work and the mildew will be too persistent or may come back. What do you do now?

It may be time to call a professional. A professional can help you clean and sanitise your mattress properly and give you advice on how to keep mildew gone for good from your home.

They will have specialist tools and equipment like steam machines and chemical treatments that can tackle the job effectively.


We have Mold Remediation Technicians that can help Find & Fix the Source of the Mildew in your Home, Remove the Mildew & Prevent it from Returning.

For Disasters of all Sizes,available in 95% of the USA

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